launched today by green fuels minister David Jamieson.
The bus runs on fuel produced through a process which involves
known as 'gas to liquid', has significantly lower emissions of
harmful air pollutants than conventional diesel and can be used in
The fuel, produced by Shell, will be trialled over the next few
months on the 507 'bendy bus' which runs from Waterloo to Victoria.
Mr Jamieson said:
'I very much welcome this trial, and look forward to seeing the
detailed results in a few months' time. London still has some serious
air pollution problems, and we need to be as innovative as possible
in looking for solutions which are good for passengers, roads users
and the environment. Newer buses are already a lot cleaner than they
were a few years ago and by using ultra clean fuels we should be able
to reduce harmful emissions still further'.
'Gas to liquid' diesel fuel is a unique synthetic fuel derived from
natural gas. It is crystal clear in colour, and virtually free of
sulphur and aromatics. It can be used in any diesel vehicle, either
neat or as a blend with regular diesel. It offers the prospect of
significantly lower emissions from conventional vehicles, without the
complications of alternative engines and refuelling infrastructures.
The fuel is currently produced in Shell's plant in Bintulu, Malaysia.
Shell currently produce 12,500 barrels of the fuel per day, but hope
to make a decision soon on the next generation of plants which may be
able to increase capacity significantly. This means that the fuel
could be available in larger quantities from 2008. It is unlikely to
be available to UK motorists before then.
Shell and Transport for London will be trialling the fuel over the
next few months on a 507 bus in London (the 507 route ru ns from
Waterloo to Victoria). They will be monitoring its emissions and
performance very closely to check that it delivers the sort of
benefits which have already been seen in trials elsewhere in the
In the longer term, the 'gas to liquid' process could also be applied
to the production of liquid fuels from biomass (woody and other
organic materials, including possibly municipal waste). This offers
the prospect of carbon savings as well as air quality benefits.